Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Computers poised and ready for new term

Mama Sue can be very proud of the wonderful computer suite at Happy House School and the way our students are being equipped for a workplace driven by computer technology. 

And she can also be proud of the two young men who run it - Mr Christone and Mr Nasri. 

Christone and Mama go back to his own schooling, before Happy House, and the early days of Sue's charity work in Kenya when she was supporting the development of a local school. Christone was a pupil at the school when the first consignment of secondhand computers, sent from the UK by Sue and her charity, arrived. Learning to use a computer sparked an interest in him, as an eight year old, that has also led to career.

Nasri is a HappY House kid. He was one of the first youngsters to benefit from our scholarship scheme which offered free places in school to youngsters who were being excluded from any school because their parent or guardian was unable to meet the costs involved.  Nasri was living with his grandmother, having been left with her as a young child, and living in dire poverty. 

He has since completed his primary and secondary education and working at Happy House whilst studying an online university course.






Monday, 10 May 2021

Learning in a splash!

Rukia filmed this video of Stevie and some of her younger "brothers" at Happy House washing one of the school vehicles during the spring holiday. She says: "Since they are at home they can help with different chores which are easy for them but at the same time they are really enjoying themselves and learning how different things are done. " All thanks to our Mama Sue or teaching us the good things in life and at the same time loving us. "We love her back."



Sunday, 9 May 2021

Sweet treat for Happy House kids

There was a special treat for our children thanks to a very kind sponsor. They sent a donation for Mama Sue to buy something the children would enjoy as a treat before they return to school after the holidays. Mama chose delicious wafer biscuits, not something the kids would normally have, but something they really enjoy. We are so lucky to have such great friends who do so much to make life at the Happy House such a wonderful experience for our children.



Saturday, 8 May 2021

New school shoes

Getting a family of almost 60 children ready to go back to school is a tall order! But at Happy House, Mama Sue and her team are used to meeting every challenge. Next week, our children will be returning to school after a seven week spring break. And quite a number of them were in need of new shoes after growing out of either their school or sports shoes (or both). We do hand down where we can, provided outgrown clothes and footwear are still wearable, but there is always some that is just beyond repair! So here Mama Sue is with the children and their new shoes to tell you what was needed and to say thank you to everyone who supports us.



Friday, 7 May 2021

Growing pumpkins ... and confidence!

It is wonderful to watch our children at Happy House growing up. For those who sponsor a child, seeing their special little friend on the blog is always special. And we also notice how they change, Edward used to be so shy when he spoke on a video, but now he has so much more confidence when he faces the camera. Well done Edward, you and your friends are a joy to watch.



Thursday, 6 May 2021

Student turns teacher

From student to teacher - that's our Happy House Nasri. Not so long ago Nasri was given a chance of an education when he was given a scholarship to Happy House School, having missed out on so much because he grandmother, with whom he lived, couldn't afford the costs of sending him to any school. Living in poverty, she struggled to put food on the table and as much as she wanted to fulfil Nasri's hopes of a schooling she couldn't manage to pay. Now, having finished his secondary education, he is working as a teaching assistant the computer suite at our Happy House School whilst also studying an online university course in IT management. He's a great role model for our children and during the holidays he's been helping them to learn more about using a computer and its component parts.



Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Positive start to new term

With Kenya schools reopening next week after a seven-week break, Happy House is busy getting ready to welcome back its students. Mama Sue is holding meetings with teachers from every department to prepare for the new term. And as she tells us, her focus is on positive thinking - allowing the children to think for themselves and make their own decisions. We also hear from head teacher, Mr Paul, and school consultant, Mr Joseph, on what makes Happy House such a special place to teach and be taught.




Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Getting active at Happy House

In this blog from Happy House we join John who is leading an exercise programme for the rest of the kids. And they're all really enjoying the keep fit routines he has put together. Our children are healthy, bright and alert because of what they eat plus the exercises that they do. It’s great that they can help each other, in the way that John is here, as exercise is so important to them as they grow.



Monday, 3 May 2021

The braidy bunch

Our Happy House children grow up with a pride in the way the look and behave. Mama Sue inspires them to be polite, kind and smart. And for the girls that means keeping their hair in neat braids which are done , for a small fee, in by local women in their village "salons." Before they go, the girls help each other to unplait the current braids before washing their hair. Diana presents this video



Sunday, 2 May 2021

Learning about compuers

During the long school holidays the children living in our care at Happy House are still learning! They all love using computers, but it's important that they know how they work too. Mr Christone, our computer teacher, took some of the children to school to show them the intricacies of the inside of a computer and to teach them about the Central Processing Unit.



Saturday, 1 May 2021

Rains find roof flaws

The arrival of the long-awaited rains are a blessing to the parched earth of Kenya,

They bring the crops to life, fill the waterholes and rivers and bring welcome relief from the unrelenting heat.

At Happy House, the torrential rain has revealed weak spots in some of our makuti thatched roofing roofing.

It's been raining into some of the bedrooms and roofing on the bandas also needs repair. 

As Rukia tells us in the video, the skilled makuti thatchers are at work carrying out the repairs which will cost a total of around £400. 

They have to be done as an emergency and an expense that has to be met. If anyone would like to help by making a donation we would be so grateful any amount, however small, would be very much appreciated. 

A plus for the community is that the makuti, which is woven palm, is made locally and that it is local tradesmen who are doing the work. 

If you would like to make a donation towards the repairs please go to https://www.justgiving.com/childrenofwatamu/Donate 

Thank you to everyone who follows and supports the work of our amazing family at the Happy House.



Friday, 30 April 2021

Turning the table to tennis!

Table tennis is the latest game to be enjoyed by our children at Happy House. Mama Sue thought it would be something they'd enjoy and which as well as being a new activity would be good for hand-eye coordination for the younger children. As Diana tells us, they are queuing up to have a game!



Thursday, 29 April 2021

Sports training back on

Happy House kids are delighted to be back in sports training. The training stopped when the children returned to school after many months off because of the pandemic. They chose to concentrate on learning and preparing for examinations. Now they are on seven weeks school holidays they are back in training for soccer, volleyball and basketball. Morphin and Saidi are super-keen soccer players and absolutely thrilled!



Wednesday, 28 April 2021

New wheels for Happy House

Happy House has a new mini-bus to transport children in to school from the local community. The bus has been purchased with the money we have been able to claim in Gift Aid for the past year. Gift Aid is a scheme available to registered charities in the UK meaning they can claim extra money from HMRC. The charity or CASC can claim an extra 25p for every £1 you donate, as long as you've paid the basic rate of tax and make the donation from your own funds.
This is a huge help to us, as Mama Sue says in this video, and we are so grateful to all those of you who Gift Aid your donations.
It is important that you tell us if your circumstances or your postal address changes and you can do this by contacting sue@childrenofwatamu.net Here we show you the mini-bus which will have seats installed and the required yellow and black "school bus" livery required by the Kenya Government by the the time school reopens after the current long holiday.



Tuesday, 27 April 2021

A short story from Happy Huse

As with all large families (and we, at Happy House, are larger than most) every item of clothing is worn and washed until it wears out! And even when it is no longer fit for wearing we always need cloths for cleaning, so nothing is thrown way until it is absolutely useless. So all those lovely friends who have made shorts for our little boys can be sure they've been well worn and well loved, but now they have seen out their lives and we needed new ones. We had material that also been kindly donated and Mama Sue asked our machinist, Auntie Constance, to use it to make new shorts which are boys are delighted to model for you. Thanks to everyone who supports us, your kindness is so appreciated.



Monday, 26 April 2021

Learning from an expert


Happy House kid Brian is learning carpentry from our full-time joiner, Uncle Charo. 
Uncle Charo, can turn his hand to anything involving woodwork, and here they are installing a ceiling into one of the rooms that was open to the makuti thatched roof. 
This will help to make it quieter and will reduce the dust. They will then paint the room to make it ready for use.



Sunday, 25 April 2021

Keeping our home beautiful

Members of our Happy House family grow up taking a pride in their surroundings. They love their home and its grounds and want it to look its best, so helping to keep it neat and tidy is something they are happy to do. In this video we join Florence and Priscilla and their team of garden helpers who have been checking the grounds to pick up any bits of litter or debris they might find. Our children all know to use bins for any "takataka" (litter) so their mission should not be to difficult, but, inevitably, some blows in from outside and there are bits of garden debris to clear up





Saturday, 24 April 2021

A song for you

We Are the World is a favourite song for Husna and Purity. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and released by the supergroup USA for Africa. The 1985 song was produced to help raise money for famine relief in Africa, and was remade again in 2010 after the earthquake in Haiti. Here the two songbirds sing an extract.



Friday, 23 April 2021

Making memories


Every time a sponsor writes, emails or sends a card to their Happy House sponsor child they are helping to make memories. Not only do they give huge pleasure to the youngsters when they arrive, they then become treasures for their memory boxes and will be looked at time and time again. This week, Lesley, Abdulmalik, Neema, Ludwin, David and Esther, have received cards from their sponsors Angel Lewis and David Paris wishing them well in their recent exams plus a colourful mask for each of them. Here Mama tells us more.



Thursday, 22 April 2021

Joining our Happy House team

Happy House kid Evans , who came to us as a small boy, is now a confident young man on the threshold of his career. Evans, who completed his final KCSE exam this week, will be starting work as a trainee manager at Happy House on April 26. He will also be moving into his own accommodation nearby, just as soon as he has found somewhere suitable. When he joins her team, Evans will be fulfilling Mama's prediction that the future running of the Happy House management would lie in the hands of the young people who have grown up there. She said Evans would be ideal because he will have a very special insight into the children it supports. "He is that child," she says.



Wednesday, 21 April 2021

KCPE pass for all our Happy House Year 8

Happy House School has once again scored 100% pass in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education.

Of our 20 candidates who sat the national examination, three are young people living in our family, Brian Jacinta and Oscar.

The remaining 17 are students living in the community attending our school.

For everyone to pass in a year that has been so tough, it a wonderful achievement and maintains the 100% pass we have achieved every since since our school opened. 

The students had more than three months off school because of the pandemic and while Brian Jacinta and Oscar had the advantage of home education at Happy House, it was not possible to extend it to every student living in the community. 

Mama Sue had successfully introduced e-learning, using Zoom and backed up with educational resources available on the internet, to our Happy House family and it was so successful that she decided to introduce it into our classes. 

When school returned, she was,  thanks to the kindness of donors, was able to open four remedial classes , each with their own teacher,  to help youngsters catch-up in the areas they found most difficult. These classes, with very small numbers, allow teachers to work with each individual. 

This has paid dividends already with these excellent exam results and we are so grateful to those people whose support made it possible.

 Well done to our kids, you do the Happy House proud and we are so proud of you.



Tuesday, 20 April 2021

To bring you a smile

As our lockdown eases a little in the UK, other countries where our Happy House has also has very good friends are in the grip of tight restrictions.

To our children, living in their own big bubble and on a long school holiday, are pretty much unaffected by the Covid 19 pandemic although very much aware of it, the need for strict hygiene procedures and "keeping safe".

But they think of their sponsors and friends. Here is a message from Morphin which he hopes will make you smile.



Monday, 19 April 2021

Smell the flowers with Saidi

Saidi is one of our keen young gardeners at Happy House. They enjoy growing vegetables that they can eat, but they also like to grow flowers to make the garden look nice. And as Saidi tell us they are "smelling well" too!




Sunday, 18 April 2021

Bat and ball game

Our younger children at Happy House enjoy a game of bat and ball in this video. Being a part of a big family like our own means they always have someone to play with and they soon learn to take turns and to share - vital lessons in life! Esther presents this video.



Saturday, 17 April 2021

In the pumpkin patch

With the rains coming, hopefully the sprinklers won't be needed too much in the coming weeks at Happy House. We meet Edward and friends in the garden today where they are tending the pumpkin patch. Pumpkin soup is a favourite on our Happy House menu.



Friday, 16 April 2021

A game of volleyball


​Volleyball is a game very much enjoyed by youngsters at the Happy House. 

Here Florence introduces us to the two teams playing a friendly match.

Judging from the sound of it the supporters were having as much fun as the players!



Thursday, 15 April 2021

Thank you Tibberton First School


Small charities like our own have to tighten their budgets ever-harder in times like these. The pandemic is causing problems for so many people that charity is, understandably, often the last thing on their minds and that means that we have to try to stretch every penny just a little bit further, So our family at Happy House are eternally grateful to all our friends, old and new, who continue to sponsor children and to send donations to keep our wonderful children's home and school going. We know it is not easy and appreciate all that you do. Today, Mama Sue and the children say a special thank you to our loyal friends at Tibberton First School and Hindlip Primary in Worcestershire. They have been sending annual donations to Happy House every year since 2014 and we have recently received a cheque fr £279.54. Every penny of this will be used to supporting the children living in our care. Thank you so much for your love and for caring - we hope you will enjoy the song our children sing for you.




Wednesday, 14 April 2021

A bear incentive


One of our smallest Happy House kids has a very special incentive to stop sucking his finger.
Emmanuel, known to all the family as Oh-Oh, has such a habit of sucking his finger that he's made it sore. When he's toddled into Mama Sue's office, Oh-Oh has always been keen to cuddle Mama's little blue teddy bear, Horace, so Mama thought that offering him the chance to take Horace to bed with him might work as a way to put a stop to the finger sucking. And so far, it has!



Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Charged with a new job!

​Brothers Erick and Lucky have taken on the important job of making sure the iPads and tablets at Happy House are charged and ready for use by the other kids.

It's nice for the kids to take some tasks in their home because it helps them grow up with a sense of responsibility. 

"The best thing is that they have not been forced or told to do the job, they just felt they needed to make it their responsibility so that the other kids can be able to use the devices when they need them," said Evans, who recorded this video.



Monday, 12 April 2021

Condolence message to Queen Elizabeth II


Mama Sue and Papa Dave led the Happy House family in extending a message of condolence to Queen Elizabeth II on hearing of the death of her husband and consort, His Royal Highness Prince Philip.

As British nationals, Mama Sue and Papa Dave hold the Royal Family dear to their heart and in Kenya, where, in 1952, The Queen heard of the death of her father and her accession to the throne, she and the Prince are held in the highest regard.

Mama Sue, visibly moved by the loss, and our family at Happy House said a special prayer of sympathy for The Queen when they gathered on Saturday.


Sunday, 11 April 2021

Tree trimming brings bonus

Trimming back trees in the garden at the Happy House brings a bonus. As you know, we don't let anything that can be used go to waste and wood lopped off the trees has been collected up and is ready to use as firewood in our outside kitchen. Most of the meals are cooked there and fuel is always needed. Here, Tumaini tells us more.


Saturday, 10 April 2021

Towering success


Tumbling and towering, our young acrobats from Happy House were a huge success when they entertained at the birthday party for Evans and for Papa Dave. 
It was a great way to round off a splendid celebration for two very special people.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Party bags

Birthday party VIPs, Papa Dave and Evans, had the very pleasant task of handing out hoody bags to every Happy House child. Everyone had worked so hard to make their birthdays special that the bags of sweets were well deserved. And they went down a treat!



Thursday, 8 April 2021

Party helpers

Many hand make light work of a hosting a party. Our older youngsters at Happy House are always eager to help and here Florence (pictured with Rukia) and some of the girls are busy serving cakes.




Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Song for, and from, Evans

When the Happy House family sang a Happy Birthday to their much-loved big brother Evans, Mama Sue thought it only fair for Evans to give them a song too. And a very fine job he made of it.



Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Birthday boys

There were cakes for both birthday boys at our Happy House double celebration. Rukia had taken on the role of baker to make and ice cakes for both Papa Dave and Evans. And they look delicious.




Monday, 5 April 2021

Double celebration

Two birthdays, one party! At Happy House we are very good at celebrating special events and so Papa Dave's birthday and Evans' 21st falling on almost the same day was the perfect reason to party. Our youngsters have spent weeks planning the activities, making decorations and masks, ready for the big day. Papa Dave, Mama's constant love and support, is much loved by our family and Evans, who has grown up a Happy House kid, is also loved by all his "brothers and sisters" and a very good role model! As with any event at Happy House, the party started with a prayer of thanksgiving said by Mama Sue.




Sunday, 4 April 2021

Happy Easter

Easter Sunday is a a time for joy and celebration and some of our children at Happy House have united in song - especially for you. Evans, who recorded the video, says: "You are very special friends and you mean a lot to their lives. " It’s nice to know that there is somebody, beyond Happy House, who is there for you and who supports you because it boosts your confidence and your way of doing things. "We wish you a Happy Easter."




Saturday, 3 April 2021

All ready to party

The decorations are up and everyone is ready to party/ Today is the the day the Happy House family will be celebrating Papa Dave's birthday along with the 21st birthday of Evans. Evans has grown up in our family and we are very proud of the young man he has become. Here some of the children are featured during preparations for today.



Friday, 2 April 2021

Thank you Blue Marmalade

Papa Dave and some of our Happy House children visited Blue Marmalade supermarket in Watamu to say a very big thank you. Blue Marmalade had ordered perishable good specially for holidaymakers due to visit but now, because, of restrictions many of them have had to cancel their Easter vacations abroad. So very kindly the proprietor has very kindly donated the surplus good to Happy House to help feed our family. We are so very grateful and our children are thrilled! Thank you. We hope it won't be too long before people are able to travel once again and enjoy holidays in beautiful Watamu.



Thursday, 1 April 2021

Making decorations

Happy House plans for a joint birthday party for Papa Dave and for Evans, who will be 21, are now in the final stages. The children have arranged a programme of activities and entertainment, the menu is organised and at at the weekend they were busy making masks and decorations to go with the animal theme.





Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Coat of paint for bedrooms at Happy House

Some of the bedrooms at Happy House are being smartened up with some fresh paint. Mama Sue likes to ensure that any maintenance work is done as soon as it is practically possibly. With so many children in our family the wear and tear is immense but we want their home to be smart and comfortable. Uncle Ibrahim has been busy painting the bedrooms and revarnishing the woodwork in the children's bedrooms and he is featured in this video introduced by Edward. None of our work is possible without your support, it is because of your generosity and love for the family Mama Sue is able to do all these things.





Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Party project

​It's a big day for two very special members of our Happy House family next weekend. Mama Sue and the kids are putting on a birthday party to celebrate the birthdays of our beloved Papa Dave and of Evans, one of the first children to come into our care back in 2010, who will be 21 in April. The party will be at Mama and Papa's house and it will have an animal theme. The kids have been busy party planning and here some of the boys are searching the internet for ideas for masks they can make.


 

Monday, 29 March 2021

A special Happy House Auntie

Auntie Janet has become a valued member of our family at the Happy House since joining our staff in eight years ago. 
Our staff are all "Aunties:" or "Uncles" to our children and Auntie Janet is responsible for looking after the laundry - quite a task for a family of 57 kids - and also for helping with childcare. 
Here she is introduced to you by Rukia.



Sunday, 28 March 2021

Holiday timetable

Happy House School has broken up for Easter - for a seven week holiday! With the children only back in school a short time, after an interruption of months because of the pandemic, Mama Sue is keen for the children living in our care, to keep up with their learning. So the home-school, so popular and successful during lockdown, will be brought back for the duration of the holidays. Here Husna tells us a bit more about their holiday timetable, which is a balance of lessons and fun. It's going to be a busy break with lots of exciting things to do